Second suspect in teen's slaying charged
The second suspect in the shooting death of a 14-year-old Colusa boy was formally charged with murder in Colusa County Superior Court on Friday morning.
Pedro Hernandez Herrera, 18, of Colusa, was arrested by Colusa police on Wednesday night in connection with the shooting death of Miguel Muniz, 14, of Colusa, on Aug. 23.
Judge Jeffrey Thompson told Herrera the charge carries a possible sentence of 15 years to life, then continued the matter to Sept. 19 for entering of a plea and the appearance of his attorney.
Herrera told the court he intended to hire an attorney.
His arrest came six days after Armando Gutierrez Leon, 16, was arrested in connection with the same crime. He is being tried as an adult on the same charge.
"When interviewing additional witnesses, we were given information about another suspect that was involved," Colusa police Sgt. Josh Fitch said.
That information led to a search warrant being served at a Clay Street home about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, and the arrest of Herrera at that location.
"We had a feeling he could be in the mix, but it wasn't until we had a conversation with others that we had confirmation (that) helped develop probable cause for the arrest," Fitch said.
Muniz was shot and killed by a small-caliber weapon near Third and Sioc streets.
His body was found about 10:15 p.m. by a passing police officer. He was declared dead a short time later at Colusa Regional Medical Center.
The cause of death is a gunshot wound to the chest, the county Coroner's Office reported.
Leon was scheduled to enter a plea on Wednesday, but the hearing was delayed until Sept. 12 so he could obtain a private attorney.
Thompson said if an attorney is not on board by that date, he will appoint one to represent him.
Leon, identified by his middle name, Gutierrez, had been arrested on Aug. 17 in Sutter County for having a concealed and loaded weapon in public, the Appeal-Democrat reported.
Like Leon, Herrera has known ties to the Sureños street gang, officials said. Muniz is believed to have ties to the rival Norteños gang.
"(Herrera) is part of the clan that hung out at 38 Lafayette," Fitch said.
The Lafayette residence is one of two other homes that have been searched during the investigation, and was the location of a gang-related brawl on May 31.
Investigators said members of the two gangs had some kind of confrontation prior to Muniz's killing. A weapon was believed to be brandished at that time, but police are not certain about who had the gun, Fitch said.
No gun has been recovered, police said.
That Lafayette house and one on Cahill Circle, believed to be Leon's residence, were searched on Aug. 28.
Colusa police were aided in the most recent search warrant by Williams police, Colusa County sheriff's deputies and an investigator from the District Attorney's Office.
Fitch said the investigation continues.